Wednesday, June 22, 2005

June 22, 2005
How to bring civility back to Capitol Hill?

Freedom of speech does not give a blank check to anyone to say what ever he wants.
Words have meaning. Our elected officials must be held accountable for what they say and do. If they are not responsible enough to govern themselves, we need to institute some means where they are made to pay a price both in dollars and in public opinion.

In any group, there are acceptable rules of conduct and guidelines. For example, in professional sports, a player can be fined or censured for bad behavior and the use of bad language.

I think we are at a stage where our elected officials must play by similar rules.

Word do have meaning and sometimes they can even cause damage and harm, to our reputation, our troops in the battle field, our citizens abroad and families at home.

Here is a short list of recommendations for our elected officials.
Don’t make personal attacks on others that you disagree. Argue with the policy and not the person.
Don’t make charges that cannot be backed up by facts. Rumors and innuendos have no place in government.
Curse words are out of line.
Miss statements should be corrected ASAP and genuine apology issued.
Keep down the rhetoric and hyperbole and stick to facts.

If all are officials agree to some basic restraint, it will go a long way to improve civility on Capitol Hill and perhaps lead to better working relations among the various parties.
Precious time and energy will not be wasted on addressing these distractions and perhaps used to debate real policies and important issues and pass bills which is their primary job.

My Solution:

Impose a fine of $1000 per incident on any official that behave or speak badly in any public forum. Private conversations are exempt.
An independent panel can be chosen to rule on the merit of any case.
Recommendation for censure can be made for extreme violations.
A scorecard shold be kept on all infractions and made public. There is much to be said about public shame to maintain civility.

Jack Lee


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